The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has applauded yesterday’s judgment of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt in which the sum of N37.6 billion was awarded as compensation to the people of Odi community in Bayelsa State over the military invasion of their community during the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo.

The order was given by Justice Lambi Akanbi order while delivering judgment in a N100 billion suit filed by the community, which is located in Kolokuma-Opokuma Local Government Area.  Justice Akanbi also ordered that the compensation be paid within three weeks.

Commending the “extra-ordinary courage” of the judge in a statement by Comrade Azizi, MEND said that with the verdict coming from an arm of the Nigeria government, all the freedom fighters in the Niger Delta, including those of MEND, have now been vindicated.

“Nigerians can now see clearly that the invasion of our communities were carried out by the administration of Olusegun Obasanjo purely to have control of our resources which was gained by Olusegun Obasanjo, his associates and the International Oil Companies (IOC) operating within the Niger Delta,” the statement said.

It underlined that the verdict is one of the movement’s key demands and that MEND is still waiting for Justice Kolawale of the Federal High Court in Abuja to review the death and life sentences imposed on some of their members, and also called for the release of Henry Okah, their leader.

On other issues, MEND called on the Northern politicians and their international oil companies operating within the Niger Delta Region to accept that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) has come to stay, and warned against any alterations of the bill.

“There should be no review whatsoever of the new fiscal terms being proposed in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which is currently undergoing legislative scrutiny at the National Assembly, this we will not accept,” the statement said.

On the subject of the 2015 election, the group noted that Nigerians and only Nigerians alone will decide who runs or becomes the next president in 2015, warning that no Nigerian has mandated any person(s) (politicians) to enter into any agreement(s) on their behalf in that regard.  

“Finally, we (MEND) want to inform the Nigerian Government that our movement is ever ready to negotiate both the release of our leader Henry Okah/members and also the peace of the region if truly they want it,” the group said.

Full text of the statement:
Ref: COURT VERDICT ON ODI, THE PIB BILL AND 2015 ELECTION.
Present at the Federal High Court, sitting in Port Harcourt yesterday the 19th of February 2013, we (MEND) sincerely do appreciate the extra-ordinary courage exhibited by Justice Lambi Akanbi in awarding the sum of N37.6B as compensation to the people of Odi community in Kolokuma - Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State over the invasion of their community by armed soldiers during the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo.

With this verdict coming from an arm of the Nigeria Government, the entire freedom fighters in the Niger Delta (MEND & Others) has been vindicated.

Nigerians can now see clearly that the invasion of our communities were carried out by the administration of Olusegun Obasanjo purely to have control of our resources which was gained by Olusegun Obasanjo, his associates and the International Oil Companies (IOC) operating within the Niger Delta.

According to the ruling, the Federal Government was ordered to pay the compensation to these communities within three weeks beginning from yesterday the 19th February 2013, which we (MEND) will enforce.

The verdict issued yesterday has been one of our key demands while we look towards Justice Kolawale of the Federal High Court Abuja for a review of the death/life sentence of our members he sent to jail while calling for the release of our leader (Henry Okah).

Meanwhile, the Northern politicians and their international oil companies operating within the Niger Delta Region should accept the realities on ground that the PIB has come to stay; we (MEND) have a recent copy of this bill and will advise those concerns of the consequences if that bill is altered.
There should be no review whatsoever of the new fiscal terms being proposed in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which is currently undergoing legislative scrutiny at the National Assembly, this we will not accept.

Furthermore, concerning the 2015 election, we (MEND) believe that no Nigerian not even one had mandated any person(s) (politicians) to enter into any agreement(s) on their behalf on who becomes the next Nigerian President come 2015, for sure, we (MEND) as individuals never gave such authorization to any individual, groups or political party, so we (MEND) want to advise the likes of Governor Aliyu Babandiga of Niger State and his co-traveler Mr. Junaid Mohammed that Nigerians and only Nigerians alone will decide who runs or becomes the next president come 2015.

Mr. Junaid Mohammed should rather state clearly the serious consequences (war) and not “serious legal problems” should anybody outside the Northern part of the country decides to contest or re-contest the election. We (MEND) will want to remind Mr. Junaid Mohammed of our previous communiqué were we (MEND) clearly stated that the separation of Nigeria will commence by usand through us (MEND), 2015 will determine if the entity called Nigeria will remain if peace is not given a chance.

Finally, we (MEND) want to inform the Nigerian Government that our movement is ever ready to negotiate both the release of our leader Henry Okah/members and also the peace of the region if truly they want it.

SIGNED:

Comrade Azizi

20th February 2013

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